2011 GNAC Men's Soccer Pre-Season Poll AnnouncedArticle courtesy of GNAC communications. Alex Comeau GNAC Sports Information Specialist
A new year has started and the polls for the Great Northeast Athletic Conference men's soccer rankings are in. Albertus Magnus College was awarded the top spot in the conference for the upcoming 2011 season as voted by all conference coaches.
1. Albertus Magnus College
Albertus will start the season seeking their third straight GNAC conference tournament appearance with the help of Jamal Howard as he earned the honor of NSCAA/Performance Subaru Men's DIII All-New England Region Second Team for the 2010 season. Helping him in their quest will be Nick Hamasian, last year's GNAC Defensive Player of the Year and GNAC First Team player, as well as Steven Zapata, a fellow GNAC First Team member. Their 18 game season will feature nine home matches. Albertus had an overall record of 14-5-1 and a conference record of 6-2-1.
2. Suffolk University
Reigning GNAC champion Suffolk will look to defend their title for the 2011 season. Coming off a championship season with a record of 11-8-1 and 5-3-1 in conference play, the Rams will look to Senior Midfielder Danny Lloyd to help them achieve their goal as he was their leading scorer with 9 goals last season. Lloyd was also earned a second team All-Conference spot for the Rams last season. Additionally helping the Rams will be Senior David Best and Sophomore Nicholas DiCicco who were members of last year's third team All-Conference squad.
3. Lasell College
Lasell is coming off its 10th straight winning season as well as finishing conference play with an impressive record of 7-0-2 for 2010. Although they lost Dan Hatch, GNAC Offensive Player of the Year and First Team All-Conference honoree to graduation, the Lasers will be accompanied by 15 returning players as well as eight newcomers on their squad. The Lasers will look to avenge their semi-final conference tournament loss to Suffolk and earn their title as GNAC Champion.
4. Norwich University
The Norwich Cadets will start the season ranked 4th in the conference, finishing last year with a record of 10-7-2, also falling victim in the semi-final conference tournament to Albertus Magnus. Eight starters will be returning to the pitch in hopes of grasping Norwich's first GNAC title since the 2008 season. The squad is welcoming back GNAC First Team selection Ryan Campbell, and Second Team selection Andrew Dustin to their backline. Veteran coach Kyle Dezotell will enter the season only 19 wins shy of the school's all-time record for wins with 70.
5. Emerson College
Emerson returns to play after successful conference play during the regular season of 2010 finishing with a record of 5-3-1. Unfortunately their conference play was cut short with a lost in the quarterfinal stage of the conference tournament. Despite being hit hard by losing 12 players from last year's team, the Lions will look to remain optimistic with the addition of new members to their continuing success. Helping on offense will be GNAC Rookie of the Year Jacob Lawrence and on the defensive end; the Lions will look to keeper Noah Price to help with their success.
6. St. Joseph's College (Maine)
The Monks of St. Joseph's College will be looking to regain composure after finishing the season with an overall record of 6-11-2 and a conference play record of 3-5-1 despite capturing their first GNAC championship in 2009. Three starters returning to the lineup will be Mike Sanfilippo, Teddy Palmer, and All-Conference striker Jack LaFreniere, who started all 19 games for the monks and amassed 3 goals and 5 assists. St. Joseph's is also welcoming several transfers as well as first year players to help the team in their quest for the title.
7. Mount Ida College
The Mount Ida Mustangs start the season with a ranking of 7th in conference polls. Mount Ida finished the 2010 season with an overall record of 1-14-1 and 1-7-1 in conference play. Returning players for the Mustangs include sophomore midfielder Steve MacDonald who led Mount Ida in scoring with four goals during the 2010 season. Sophomore defender Carlos Rojas also returns to the field for the Mustangs. Rojas was able to tally 2 goals and 2 assists over the course of last year.
8. Johnson & Wales
The Wildcats round out the preseason polls coming into the 2011 season. Last year, they finished with an overall record of 4-12-2 and a record of 3-5-1 in conference play. Johnson & Wales will be looking to earn their first GNAC Tournament title since the 2007 season and their sixth since the start of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference in 1995. The Wildcats took a hit losing seniors such as Joe Ferraro and Sebastian Bermudez, however look to rev up the squad with the addition of 15 first year players.